Actor Parvathy on Thursday slammed the jury of the ONV literary award for ignoring the MeToo accusations against Tamil songwriter and poet Vairamuthu and choosing to honour him with a prestigious award constituted in the memory of legendary poet ONV Kurup.
She said that conferring this award on Vairamuthu disrespected ONV’s memory. “ONV Sir is our pride. His contribution as a poet and lyricist is incomparable. How it has nourished our culture. Our hearts and minds have benefited through his body of work. This is exactly why it is immense disrespect to give such an honour in his name to the accused of sexual assault crimes (sic),” she said in her tweet.
— Chinmayi Sripaada (@Chinmayi) May 27, 2021
This is how our society validates and gives more strength to someone who has been called out by several women as a sexual predator.
Utterly Shameful! https://t.co/WB3VMjFTff
— T M Krishna (@tmkrishna) May 26, 2021
For the uninitiated, Vairamuthu faced a slew of allegations of sexually harassing multiple women in the wake of the MeToo movement in India. “17 women have come out with their stories. We don’t know how many more have been wronged. There seems to be enough whataboutery to continue wronging those who are wronged. Only to uphold the reputation of those in power. Nothing is more important than humanity. If you come at me with the art vs artist debate, let me tell you that for me the humanity of the person creating the art is the only thing I’d choose to look at. I can live without the “art” of those who hollow out lives with absolute impunity,” Parvathy said in her Instagram post.
Singer and activist Chinmayi had publicly alleged that he made her feel uncomfortable at least on two occasions. She was even told “her career will be over” should she refuse to “cooperate”. Her story led to a series of allegations against Vairamuthu.
“How do you justify this? #adoorgopalakrishnan and the jury who decided to the accused Vairamuthu this honour (sic),” Parvathy asked.
The ONV Cultural Academy started the ONV literary award in 2016 after the passing of ONV Kurup. The award honours poets from Malayalam and other Indian languages with a cash prize of Rs 3 lakh, a citation and plaque.